The Library’s First-Ever Electric Bookmobile

The Seattle Public Library’s Mobile Services has a sweet new ride — our first-ever electric Bookmobile.

The Seattle Public Library’s Mobile Services’ staff in front of their sweet new ride.

The Library worked with the Seattle’s City Fleets to replace one of our aging Mobile Services delivery vans with a new electric Ford E-Transit. The electric van is one of four Mobile Services vehicles that brings carts of library materials into low-income senior housing, assisted living facilities and preschools.

In total, we make monthly visits to 97 partner locations throughout the city to reach preschoolers, older adults, and patrons with disabilities. Continue reading “The Library’s First-Ever Electric Bookmobile”

Happy National Bookmobile Day!

The Seattle Public Library Bookmobile Index

Years of continuous Bookmobile service in Seattle:  70

Total vehicles in Seattle Public Library’s Mobile Services’ fleet:  4 (1 walk-on bookmobile, 2 step vans, & 1 little van)

Age in years of oldest vehicle:  11

Number of bubble machines:  1

Total locations served each month:  116

Weight in pounds of the fully-loaded walk-on bookmobile: 9,500

Weight in pounds of a fully loaded book cart brought into assisted living facilities: 340

Items borrowed by Mobile Services patrons in 2017:  101,533

Number of items patrons unable to visit the library may receive by mail each month:  15

Number of homeless encampments the Bookmobile visits each month:  2

Happy National Bookmobile Day!

~ posted by Carrie F.

Celebrating Seattle’s Bookmobile

Bookmobile 19312016 marks the 125th anniversary of The Seattle Public Library. After it was adopted as a department of the city in 1890, the Library opened its first reading room in Pioneer Square on April 8, 1891. To honor this milestone, we will be posting a series of articles here about the Library’s history and life in the 1890s. We also encourage our patrons to share their favorite memories of SPL on social media using the hashtag #SPL125. Be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest. – editor

This month, Seattle Public Library is launching a brand new Bookmobile. Continue reading “Celebrating Seattle’s Bookmobile”

Happy National Bookmobile Day!

As we celebrate Bookmobiles today with National Bookmobile Day, I am moved to share something of the little known service we provide to elder members of our community through SPL’s own Mobile Services. We bring books, movies and other goodies from the library not just to kids but also to adults who cannot get to their neighborhood library or to the Central Library. We visit over a hundred nursing homes, retirement and assisted living facilities each month, and we visit private homes.

When the Library comes to town: sharing books at one of the many facilities we visit.It is a delight to be able to bring the library to folks in our community who cannot get to the library because they are no longer good on their feet or able to drive. For some, it makes it just a little bit easier to stay independent in their own houses and able to continue to pursue new or lifelong interests. It can mean staying up to date with the latest film, engaging with family through books and reading or learning how to record their personal history.

What sorts of things do we bring to people where they live? Well, everything you might go to your library to pick up – from general reading to serious research. One of the best things about visiting the library is the opportunity to explore: maybe this month you’d like to try your hand at crochet or making chocolate truffles or crocheting chocolate truffle cozies. We have a book for that. Well, maybe not the truffle cozies, but you never know! There might even be a mystery series revolving around it. We’re excited to find out and we hope to recreate that process of discovery through Mobile Services.

And does that discovery ever happen! I’ve had the pleasure of being handed a self-published memoir about growing up on Vashon Island after supplying books on memoir to a patron, or been delighted to see a new painting on the wall after being asked for books on tropical birds or even more surprised to be given a newly beaded bracelet by the patron with a passion for beadwork. And even more thrilling? To be asked, ‘I just finished reading The Hunger Games series because my grandkids love them. What should I read next?’

Seattle Public Library has been providing bookmobile service since 1931. To find out more about Mobile Services for yourself or someone you know, please call 206-386-4636 or email

Also, check out the outpouring of bookmobile love here:

Why We Love our Bookmobile: a Celebration of National Bookmobile Day, on YouTube

Today is National Bookmobile Day!

Smack dab in the middle of National Library Week is the first annual National Bookmobile Day.  The Seattle Public Library is celebrating by bringing our oldest bookmobile in for the afternoon and parking it right outside our Central Library.  SPL’s Mobile Services provides access to library resources for people who cannot reach the library because of age, disability, or illness.  Many folks will be surprised to learn that we’ve been at it for over 60 years.

Over the course of those years, the look of our service has changed (from parking big walk-on bookmobiles in neighborhoods without a library of their own to a fleet of smaller vehicles reaching out to the homebound, kids in childcare centers and seniors in retirement homes), but the pleasure is the same.

What is it like to bring the library to the people?  For a glimpse into the always wonderful, sometimes hilarious world of the library on wheels, check out these reads:

The Uncommon ReaderThe Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett: When her incorrigible corgis go astray, the Queen of England happens upon a mobile library parked outside the palace.  Wanting to be polite, she checks out a book and rediscovers the pleasure of reading.  She soon starts to vex Continue reading “Today is National Bookmobile Day!”